What I Learned from Completing a 365

I've done it! I've done a full year of my photo a day project.

For those who are not sure what I'm talking about, for the past year I've been taking one photo a day and uploading it to a private blog.

I won't be giving up on the project now that I've done a full year, though. My intention is to keep it up. I want to see how, say, what I chose to photograph on 7th March 2014 compares to what I choose to photograph on 7th March 2015. This was always my intention although in March last year I had no idea just how different my life would be in 2015 - it's going to be interesting to see how my subject matter changes as I find my way through early motherhood!

For anyone considering a 365 project of their own, I highly recommend it. It's a great way of documenting the smaller moments of your life and taking pictures every single day does a lot to improve your photography.

Here are some things I've learned along the way:

Feet in yellow shoes on a yellow floor

There is always something to photograph
Always. Even if it's just your feet. Some days you will have trouble choosing which of your many photos to use; some days - weeks, even - you will feel completely uninspired and hate everything you've photographed. At the end of the year, the only person who will be able to tell which days were which is you. You're also the only person keeping track of how many times you photograph your cats, the sunset and your favourite mug.

Red bobbly bath mat

You'll become a better photographer
In the early days, you'll take the same picture from 17 different angles and there's no telling which shot you will like best. Later, you'll take the same picture from 17 different angles and you will prefer the first. Your eye for composition gets better, the further into the project you are. You will also become braver about taking your camera out in public places and better at spotting unusual textures.

Sunlight through rosebay willow herb

Timing helps
As a general rule, taking photos during daylight is best so, whenever possible, take your shot earlier in the day. That said, my favourite time to take pictures is late afternoon when the sun is strong and low - things get lit in unexpected ways and the shadows can look quite dramatic. And then there are the sunsets...

Raindrops on scaffolding

If you can figure out what's drawing you to a particular shot, you can improve it. Focus right in on the appealing detail, crop your image as tightly as you can and you'll get a more interesting shot.

Fife seen from Forth Rail Bridge

Or not
Unless it's a landscape. Landscapes are not my strong point.

Hands pulled into stripy sleeves

You can protect people's anonymity
Portraits do not have to show people's faces. Very few of my photos show faces but I take lots of pictures of hands and feet and those can be just as evocative.

Daisy chain

One final note
Sorry, but don't expect much reader engagement! People really don't know what to say about photo heavy posts ("nice picture!" "great picture!" "cool picture!") so they don't bother. It doesn't necessarily mean that they don't enjoy your photos but it does mean you should be doing your 365 because it makes you feel good, not for anyone else.

Click here to visit Two Days the Same.


  1. I like the one with the thing.

  2. I loved taking part, thanks for having me! I have learnt so much about photography and composition from looking at the pictures you take.

  3. A whole year wow! I bow down in your mighty photographer presence :) will it still be called Two Days the Same now that it's just you though?

  4. With its underlying metaphors of despair and the need for cake?

  5. Yep. It's still the same date but two different years. :)

  6. Wow, well done on completing the 365! Thanks for letting me take part (seems so long ago now...). A 365 is so much fun to do, and I learned a lot during mine. Looking forward to seeing your photographs over the rest of the year :)

  7. Ah ok that makes sense :)

  8. I tried 365 last year and got to day 33 before giving up so round of applause for you, that's for sure. Maybe it's time for me to try again...

  9. Yeah, last May seems like forever ago - we've even MET IN PERSON since then!

  10. Definitely! I've tried a few times before - the furthest I got was about 160 days. I think it was easier this time because I had other people taking part - even if I wasn't in the mood, I knew I couldn't let them down. I'm so glad I persevered.

  11. I have been trying to take photos everyday on my instagram account and while I did miss a few days already (I have been sick and litteraly did not have the strength to get out of bed). I'm really enjoying it. It's so nice to be able to look back and remember of all those special time through one single picture. I will try to continue for as long as I can even if I don't succeed at making it a straight 365 days of pictures in a row.

    xo, Charlie

  12. Good luck! Like you say, it's great to look back over the archives.

  13. I've always wanted to do something like this with my Instagram account but I always fizzle after a couple weeks. (Haven't even posted there in quite awhile, so that shows how dedicated I am to photography.) I've never been much of a photographer, but I do love the idea of having a sort of visual diary of the year. This post makes me want to try again! :)

  14. duck in a dress9 March 2015 at 22:56

    Thanks for having me along for the ride! (even if it did go a bit pear-shaped halfway through the month). I enjoyed taking part and seeing everyone's pictures but I'll admit, I am guilty of the 'not commenting' thing. It just seemed like any comment I could put would be a bit shallow ("I like the colours", "interesting angle", what a coincidence those pictures matched" - that sort of thing) so I didn't write anything. Thank you for organising it though and I'll still be following anyway! xx

  15. I'm still amazed you managed to keep it up with your leg in plaster!

    I totally get that - I rarely comment on other people's photo posts, either, because it's hard to know what to say. :-)


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